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Nigerian Ex-General Takes on Former Partner That Won $11 Billion Award

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(Bloomberg) — A firm owned by a billionaire former Nigerian defense minister is suing an ex-business partner that’s at the center of a high-stakes London trial over an $11 billion arbitration award, previously unreported court documents show.

A UK tribunal ordered Nigeria’s government in 2017 to pay Process and Industrial Development Ltd $6.6 billion in damages after a gas-supply deal soured, and the amount has ballooned with interest. Theophilius Danjuma’s Tita-Kuru Petrochemicals Ltd. brought its own arbitration claim against P&ID in London in 2020, alleging that its designs had been “unlawfully misappropriated” to secure the gas contract, Nigeria said in a filing to a UK court in February.

“P&ID firmly denies that it unlawfully misappropriated anything from Tita-Kuru,” the company’s majority shareholder, Seamus Andrew, said by email, declining to comment further on the arbitration because the proceedings are confidential. A spokesman for Danjuma declined to comment.

Read more: Behind the Multibillion-Dollar Legal Award Nigeria Calls a Sham

Danjuma, 83, amassed a fortune after retiring from the army as a senior general in the late 1970s and going into business. He founded South Atlantic Petroleum Ltd., which holds a 15% interest in two oil fields that produce about 200,000 barrels of crude a day. Danjuma also served as Nigeria’s defense minister from 1999 to 2003.

Tita-Kuru and British Virgin Islands-registered P&ID worked together from 2006 on an unsuccessful project to build a gas-processing plant. Danjuma’s firm claimed in a 2019 letter sent to Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency that P&ID presented work that cost Tita-Kuru $40 million to win its deal with the government. Nigeria repeated that argument in July to a UK court, where it seeks to overturn the multibillion-dollar arbitration award that P&ID won five years ago.

President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration is now preparing for a London trial in January, during which it will try and prove that P&ID secured the gas-supply contract and arbitration award through bribes and lies.

No Wrongdoing

P&ID denies all allegations of wrongdoing and accuses the government of evading its legal obligation to pay it compensation.

While P&ID was entitled to use the design work paid for by Tita-Kuru for the facility it intended to build under the contract with the state, most of the plans ultimately were “not required,” the company said in its response to the government’s allegations in September.

Nigeria’s Attorney General Abubakar Malami said in a witness statement in June 2020 that an earlier settlement struck between Tita-Kuru and P&ID “may have involved” the ex-minister “receiving the right to some form of equity stake” in P&ID and therefore an interest in the company enforcing the award.

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Global Cyber Security Expert, Professor Ojo Emmanuel Ademola bags Most Outstanding Personality of the Year Award

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Professor Ojo Emmanuel Ademola has been recognized as the Outstanding Personality of the Year in Technology at the prestigious 4th Edition of the South West Advancement Award and Investment Summit. Professor Ademola is a Nigerian Cyber Security and Information Technology Management Professor and a Chartered Fellow of the Royal Chartered Management Institute.

This incredible achievement was celebrated at an exquisite event held on Wednesday, June 12, 2024, at 5 pm at the esteemed Oriental Hotel in Lekki, Lagos, Nigeria. The event brought together esteemed technocrat political leaders and prominent personalities from diverse sectors, creating an exceptional gathering of influential figures.

 

The annual award ceremony is dedicated to acknowledging individuals for their remarkable contributions, with a special focus on those making significant impacts within the South West region of Nigeria. The esteemed recognition is a testament to Professor Ademola’s dedication and expertise in advancing technology, especially in Africa and Europe, particularly notable for his influential work in the United Kingdom.

Dr Smith Raymond, the Director General of The Institute for Enterprise Management and Analytics, commended Professor Ademola for this well-deserved award, acknowledging the professor’s unwavering commitment to technological progress. He emphasized the importance of Professor Ademola’s work. He encouraged him to continue his outstanding efforts, highlighting that this honor is a motivating call to action in further driving innovation.

 

In Professor Ademola’s absence at the event, his representation by S.A. on Media, Babatunde Adekanmbi, conveyed the professor’s heartfelt gratitude and appreciation for the nomination and award. It was seen as an inspiration for Professor Ademola to continue his impactful work in technology.

 

The event was graced by an array of distinguished personalities, including Dr. Reuben Abati, the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Chief Dele Momodu, the Chairman of Ovation Media Group, and His Imperial Majesty Oba Ogunwusi, the revered Ooni of Ife, alongside various other notable dignitaries. The gathering highlighted the significance of Professor Ademola’s contributions and celebrated the collective achievements in advancing technology and innovation within the region

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Could South Africa be the first-ever country to provide a no-strings-attached universal basic income?

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South Africa suffers from severe income inequality — one of the worst anywhere in the world. Its unemployment rate, meanwhile, is over 30%.

But its government thinks it has a solution: a universal basic income .

The idea has broad political support and the country’s largest political party, the African National Congress, said recently it is committed to implementing a universal basic income within two years.

Once the figment of ideological dreamers, a universal basic income — regular direct cash payments to a population with no strings attached — has grown in legitimacy, especially after the success of COVID-era stimulus checks. Tech visionaries racing to develop ever-more advanced artificial intelligence have also suggested implementing a universal basic income. They say it would help mitigate the job losses from AI .

Several other countries have experimented with versions of a universal basic income. Kenya, for instance, offers unconditional payments to about 20,000 people in 200 different towns.

In the United States, numerous cities and some states are experimenting on a small scale with guaranteed basic incomes , which offer no-strings-attached payments but only to select groups of people in need. While studies have shown these American programs to be successful, they have also run up against significant political opposition .

But in South Africa, most political parties are all for it. They just need to work out the details.

“The ANC is committed to finalizing a comprehensive policy on the basic income support grant within two years of the new ANC administration, ensuring broad consultation and expedited action,” South Africa’s ruling party said in a statement .

That statement came a week before hotly contested general elections on May 29, which saw the ANC lose its majority in parliament. The ANC is now working to form a unity government and a commitment to implementing a universal basic income will almost certainly come up in negotiations.

According to the party, a study at the University of Johannesburg showed that a majority of South African citizens “fully support the introduction of a basic income support grant.”

While South Africa provides payments to certain groups living below the poverty line through its Social Relief Distress grant program, the ANC plan would open eligibility to all South African adults, the Guardian reported .

The ANC said it is “exploring” options, like new tax measures and a new social-security tax, to fund the program. The party also says its goal for the program is not to replace existing social-security programs, but to complement them.

If it follows through, the ANC plan would make South Africa the first country to provide a universal basic income.

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Toyota apologizes for cheating on vehicle testing and halts production of three models

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TOKYO (AP) — Toyota Chairman Akio Toyoda apologized Monday for massive cheating on certification tests for seven vehicle models as the automaker suspended production of three of them.

The wide-ranging faulty testing at Japan’s top automaker involved the use of inadequate or outdated data in collision tests, and incorrect testing of airbag inflation and rear-seat damage in crashes. Engine power tests also were found to have been falsified.

Toyota Motor Corp., based in Toyota city, central Japan, suspended production in Japan of the Corolla Fielder, Corolla Axio and Yaris Cross. The faulty tests were also found on discontinued models.

The company said the wrongdoing does not affect the safety of the vehicles already on roads, which include the Corolla subcompact and Lexus luxury vehicles.

“We sincerely apologize,” Toyoda said, bowing deeply at a news conference in Tokyo.

A Japanese government investigation into Toyota began in January. The latest problems don’t pertain to Toyota’s overseas production.

Also Monday, Japanese rival Mazda Motor Corp. reported similar irregular certification testing, and halted production of two models, the Roadster and Mazda 2. It said incorrect engine control software was used in the tests.

Mazda, based in the southwestern city of Hiroshima, also acknowledged violations on crash tests on three discontinued models. The violations don’t affect the vehicles’ safety.

Tokyo-based Honda Motor Co. also apologized late Monday for improper tests, such as those on noise levels and torque, on a range of models whose affected older versions are no longer in production, such as the Accord, Odyssey and Fit. The safety of the vehicles is not affected, it said.

About two years ago, certification problems surfaced at Toyota group companies, truck maker Hino Motors and Daihatsu Motor Co., specializing in small models, and Toyota Industries Corp., which makes machinery and auto parts.

Shinji Miyamoto, a Toyota executive overseeing customer satisfaction, said Toyota began looking into its own tests following the problems at the group companies.

The apparent unraveling of the testing systems at Toyota and its group companies is an embarrassment for an automaker that’s prided itself for decades on production finesse and a corporate culture based on empowering workers to make “ever-better cars.”

Toyoda said the company may have been too eager to get the tests done and abbreviated them at a time when model varieties were burgeoning.

Toyota sells more than 10 million vehicles around the world.

Toyoda, the grandson of the company’s founder, suggested some certification rules might be overly stringent, noting such tests differed around the world. But he repeatedly said he wasn’t condoning the violations.

“We are not a perfect company. But if we see anything wrong, we will take a step back and keep trying to correct it,” said Toyoda.

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